wrestling / Columns

The Wrestling 5&1 12.15.12: The Divas Royal Rumble Week #5

December 15, 2012 | Posted by Tony Acero

By the time you read this, I’ll be done with the semester, Greg will be taking his youngest son to buy a shirt at Old Navy, and you will be prepping for the next WWE PPV. At least one of these is true. But the WWE isn’t the only game in town! ROH has a PPV coming up, and I’m sure some of you want to hear about that!

But first…
BRING ON THE GIRLS!

Eleven weeks long, the Versus Royal Rumble features the women who have come so close to the Hall of Bang—three time winners Mickie James (who did it twice), Stacy Keibler, Gail Kim, Lita and Christy Hemme. It also features two former hall members in Brooke Tessmacher and Taryn Terrell. Add in twenty three more women from the WWE, TNA, NXT, the indies, overseas, old school ladies and more!

The results are in, and three more women were eliminated in the second week of The Versus Rumble!

This week, another set of favorites (mine at least!) were eliminated as Scarlett Bordeaux and Rain were sent home. Along with them went another old school choice in Kimberly Page.

Now it’s back to you—the reader—to pick three more women to eliminate. That’s right, you are NOT voting for winner, you are voting for someone to get eliminated. Three to be exact. We’ll narrow the field over the next eleven weeks until we get to the final two. At that point, a winner will be crowned!

At stake? Oh nothing, just a spot in the 411Mania Wrestling 5&1 Hall of Bang!

So who will win? We’ll get there, but first we need to eliminate three more of these beautiful ladies. Here is the remaining field, and you can vote below. Vote for the three you want to send home, and vote often. You can vote once every 12 hours, and voting closes Tuesday night.

Ladies and gentlemen…

VOTE NOW!


The poll expires Tuesday night, and you can vote once every 12 hours. Now get voting!

Last week in The Wrestling 5&1…

I loved that Mike Specian video, sadly it reminded me that I think things are almost more stale now (or perhaps I’m just more tired of it) but it’s always nice to see a well spoken and educated voice speak positively about wrestling.

As for Matthews and DeMott, I found DeMotts smug replies much more telling than anything Matthews said. – Scott

Totally agree, Scott. It’s very nice to see a well-spoken and educated voice speak positively about wrestling. It gives me hope that we wrestling fans aren’t totally fucked in the head.

Hey Tony buddy, when you write something and 95% of the readers don’t agree with you, that should tell you maybe you’re wrong. Almost every comment on here said the rock won the battle on the mic,, even while holding back. Get over yourself and your Cena fanboyism ( I’m not sure if that’s a word or not) – Jelly

You must be new here. First off, no “fanboyism” isn’t a word, but I’ll allow it. As for me adhering said word to one John Cena….NEVER. I am a self-professed Cena-detractor and will be so until his character changes. My stance towards The Rock and Cena feud stands, and I think your numbers are a bit off. It was more around 70-80% who didn’t agree. Still, it’s an opinion column where my opinion matters, soooo….

Summer of Khali>Summer of Punk (kidding) – KipSmithers

Oh, you silly, silly man.

Although The Shield is still in its infancy, a couple of weeks ago, we thought we’d attempt to highlight the star of the show without so much as a week’s worth of knowledge in regards to the three men involved. True, some of you lambasted us for jumping the gun, but according to Meltzer, there are already people doing what we did only a week later. I’m not saying we’re trendsetters, but…..fuck it; we’re trendsetters.

[From Greg: Hells yes we are!]

Anyways, I made mention of the interview they had with Michael Cole a few weeks ago, and alluded to the film The Dark Knight, particularly in the vein of Dean Ambrose. I mentioned the small ticks and minute body movements that I claimed could only have one possible influence (ok, maybe two if we includ4e Tom Waits). This sentiment grew quite a bit after Smackdown showed a video of The Shield was both amateur and awesome. Similar to The Joker in TDK, The Shield has taken the idea of a vigilante and is running with it. From their claim to being a sign of justice (a NEW kind of heel?) to their seemingly random attacks and viral-like promo videos, this all screams Christopher Nolan and Co.

And ya know what, there’s NOTHING wrong with that. I am not the first to make this comparison, and won’t be the last, but there are a few that have and claim that the WWE needs to be more original and create their own damn story. I have to disagree. After all, if you’re going to use any story as a template to tell your own, I think TDK is one of the best templates to use. It takes a simple, one-word premise (fear, chaos, loss) and builds around it.

We have seen a group of wrestlers “invade” and attack people like Cena and Orton. In fact, the last time was probably the group that The Shield has been compared to the moment they stepped into the WWE ring; The Nexus. But let me ask you this, where have those comparisons gone? Obliterated after one promo, that’s where. These comparisons were dead on the ground the moment Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns opened their mouth. They altered our mindset about them with one promo. It was nothing breath-taking and extravagant, but it was effective and they have officially become their own name with their own agenda. I don’t know where it’s going, but if they continue to impress the way they are, there may be a future for all three – even with their follies. As of now, all they need is a Batman and I can only hope that the name John Cena isn’t involved.

You Decide: Does copying from other sources make WWE a bad product?

After Tuesday’s Smackdown taping, a photo made the rounds showing the empty side of the arena for the Smackdown tapings. The photo, original found here, birthed some downright hilarious reactions about the impending demise of the WWE.

Our report, found here, even used phrases like “not good” and “rather sparse.”

But then, a reader named “Blackbird 13″ decided to school everyone. And school he did!

“For what it’s worth… I work in the entertainment industry, and there’s been a SEVERE decline in attendance in many, many types of entertainment. I co-own a cover band, book other cover bands, and work with some lesser known original bands here and there as well. I also have a number of friends in the industry.. from sidemen musicians playing with bands and artists you’ve probably heard of, to folks living out of a van, scraping gas money to get from gig to gig.

The prevailing theory among those in the music industry is that people don’t go out to see live music as much anymore simply because they have CHOICES like never before. Think about it. In the past.. if a big band or artist performed in your town, it was a much bigger deal than it is now. The same goes for the WWE. (And Monster Jam, and NASCAR, and the circus, and the Harlem Globetrotters, and any other “touring” form of entertainment)

Now, we don’t just have a big show or two (or in my case, regional cover bands) to choose from… we have Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, Google. We have cable, satellite, and Fios with hundreds of channels. There’s a show about cops, cooking, history, pawn shops, motorcycles, nightlife.. anything you can think of, and you’ll never keep up with them all. On top of that.. Walmart… Kmart… all the way down to your local mom and pop stores aren’t near as simple as they were. There are sales, and specials, and events… and all of that cuts into how much time you spend out of the house. There are SO many things to occupy a person’s “free” time that it’s ridiculous.

Oh, and one other thing.. people don’t value superstars the way they used to. In our parent’s day… a great musician, a great athlete, a star actor.. these people were admired and respected. Now, everyone, everywhere has this mindset of “oh, I can do that”. Seriously. How many of you think, that if you just put your mind to it, you could be CM Punk tomorrow? Or Bret Michaels? Or Tom Cruise? (Or Tom Cruise trying to be Bret Michaels in “Rock of Ages”?) It’s just not feasible. All of us have talents and abilites that others don’t… but the mentality today, instead of respecting that and sitting back and watching a master at his or her craft… the mentality is just “pffft…. I can do that”… and that really makes it hard to enjoy anything.

I’m not saying that the WWE’s not partially to blame.. they certainly could do better.. but you’re also looking at a reality that is VASTLY different in 2012 than it was in 1997.. or even in 2002.”

So, amazingly enough, a reader outsmarted even the writers of our site. But it’s not amazing. You see, this is why I am writing this point. We have tons of smart readers, many of whom read this column. I know that the morons and detractors take away from the experience of many smart readers. But I want to point out the good, and say thank you.

So “Blackbird 13,” whoever you are, thanks bro.

Not enough of you will remember The Column of Honor, penned for several years by Ari Berenstein. I say that because not enough of you read it—considering it was the definitive look at Ring of Honor each week.

Well I’ve been smart enough to maintain contact with Ari and always welcome his opinion and contribution. And he was nice enough to provide a preview of ROH’s biggest show of the year—and their last show of the year—Final Battle. You’re Welcome!

“The Hour of Final (Battle) Things…”

After one of the more frustrating and disappointing years in the history of Ring of Honor, it’s all come down this—one final show and one final attempt for the promotion to collectively get its head from out of its behind. This Sunday, ROH presents its annual Final Battle show, taking place as an afternoon matinee at the Hammerstein Ballroom (the lower concert hall of the Manhattan Center located on 34th Street and 8th Avenue in the heart of New York City). It is only a few hours before WWE makes its debut at the newest arena for my home borough, the Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue for their TLC Pay Per View. So it will be a very busy wrestling day in The Big Apple and a lot will be on the line, but especially for Ring of Honor as they try to revitalize the product and continue to rebound from the difficult year.

The Ring of Honor show is once again an internet Pay Per View presentation and you can order it directly through their website at rohwrestling.com. However, that fact should give pause to some. The seeming ease and convenience of being able to order and watch through your own computer and personal internet connection has been challenged throughout the year by ROH’s uneven and oft-bumbling handling of the delivery of this medium. Many now know about the difficulties ROH experienced in using Go Fight Live as their carrier for their March 30th and 31st Wrestlemania-weekend shows (dubbed Showdown in the Sun). Truth be told, the problems experienced by GFL were more out of bad planning by both companies and then a sheer Act of God due to a transformer blowing near the building where the event was held, scrubbing the feed.

It was when ROH and parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group decided to go all “DIY” and try to host the internet Pay Per Views on their servers that the chaos really ensued. Login traffic jams, crashed sites, free access given unwittingly to everyone and exceptionally poor customer service all have added up to the “growing pains” that a company which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year should not have experienced, and yet did. Yes, the feed (once one was able to access it) had far better video and audio quality than an ROH broadcast ever did before save the HDNet television series. However, production quality becomes utterly meaningless when very few people can access the live stream. Sometimes ROH got their act together (Boiling Point 2012), but when these problems occurred multiple times (most notably disastrously missing the entire first half of Death Before Dishonor X), the anger and resentment led to a huge vocal uprising among fans and customers. Regardless of the reason and excuses why some of their shows had these difficulties, the result was an overall lack of faith in Ring of Honor’s ability to provide its own product. Many including myself had not been this down on the Ring of Honor product in years.

That is not to mention the issues many people had with former booker Jim Cornette’s ideas and decision-making process in terms of talent, matches and the execution of story ideas throughout much of the year. It would take far more time and space to devote to and delve into all of those headaches than is available right now.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to Final Battle 2012. ROH changed bookers—well, not so much changed as shifted power back to the man who was originally the lead shot-caller before the Sinclair Broadcast Group buy-out: Hunter Johnson, a.k.a. the masked wrestler Delirious. It had been reported that Jim Cornette and Delirious had been sharing booking duties evenly throughout the past year, but the assertion seemed to ring hollow with even just a quick look at the booking style being used and the talent decisions being made throughout the year. Former WWE personalities being pushed hard into the limelight (when the history of ROH had been to use former names as attractions and attempt to get over younger talents), puzzling booking choices surrounding storylines (was Kevin Steen a face, a heel or what?) and the decision that some super popular talents who appealed to a general audience would not be used heavily, if at all (AHEM AHEM Colt Cabana, El Generico, Young Bucks). Regardless of whoever was in charge of the booking, the collective thought has been that while ROH was generally alright as an in-ring wrestling presentation that the outdated booking of stories and usage of talent was hurting them. It needed to change, and when Delirious returned to The Captain’s helm in the Fall of this year, fans did begin to see changes, and for the better.

Immediately the booking felt fresher, the storylines more relevant and interesting. Angles and feuds that had been so slow burning as to seem glacier-like were finally actually moving in a direction. Matches on television began to have more of a marquee value. A key popular talent named El Generico has been announced as making a return to the promotion for the year-end show. Most importantly, Ring of Honor produced a near-flawless internet Pay Per View this past October-Glory By Honor XI in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The feed and access to it was free of any major or disastrous problems, the talent was motivated to deliver a great wrestling product and the main-event was a five-star classic between champion Kevin Steen and Michael Elgin. The show had 1,500 purchases and only 300 of those were of make goods offered by the promotion for the technical issues from Death Before Dishonor X. That is a very positive number-on the higher side for ROH iPPV this year. The question becomes-was that show a “One Hit Wonder” or has Ring of Honor (finally) Got Its Groove Back? The streak is at one.

So that brings us back to Ring of Honor’s final and now clearly most important event of the year. The one thing that cannot be said about this card is that ROH took it easy—because this is one of the strongest and most interesting cards of the entire year. There are many intriguing matches that on paper look to be sure-fire hits, and if it all breaks right could end being one of the better shows in the history of the promotion. After all the tumult of the past year, that statement more than anything should bring a sigh of relief to long-time fans of the promotion and a sense of excitement about the possibilities of success for this end-year show. More importantly, there is a reason to hope and to believe in the company again, just when all seemed lost.

Let’s look at the card, now locked-in, as it stands just a few days before the show.

ROH World Championship-Ladder War IV: Kevin Steen (champion) vs. El Generico

The incredibly popular El Generico returns to Ring of Honor for the first time since the Showdown in the Sun weekend when he last wrestled Jimmy Jacobs and-you guessed it-Kevin Steen. This new wrinkle in the ongoing Generico-Steen saga began when a box was delivered to Steen after his last successful iPPV defense. In the box was an El Generico mask, which immediately created a buzz around the masked luchador’s return. The story is simple and obvious, yet compelling. Kevin Steen has defeated everyone else during his time as ROH World Champion. It is now up to his former tag team partner who is now his greatest enemy (and the man who put him out of ROH for a year) to try to get the job done once more.

The Ladder War match has ladder match rules (climb the ladder, grab the title and win) with the violence turned up all the way to the end of the dial. There have only been three other matches of that type in ROH and two of them involved Steen and Generico as a tag team. In addition, both wrestled in a brutal Ladder match in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in 2011 (“Steen Wolf”). It is the hour of Final Battle for Kevin Steen and El Generico and there is no doubt these two can have the epic and fitting main-event finale that this show needs and ROH must have as an exclamation point to 2012.

El Generico’s simple gimmick and appearance belay his universal appeal to a wrestling audience and his immense talent in the ring. However, El Generico is not contracted to ROH (or as far as is known publicly) and that makes it a slim and remote possibility of a title switch given that information along this year’s debacle of ROH putting its tag title on Kenny King without him signing a formal contract. King waltzed over to TNA, leaving ROH’s tag team scene in a bind. If ROH and SBG officials were stodgy and squeamish about putting the belt on non-contracted talents before then, well, I can only imagine their thoughts on that idea now. Steen has been champion since May, which means his title run is still relatively young given ROH’s propensity for very long championship runs for its top guys. Generico’s status with the promotion should determine whether or not there is a title switch here. It is obvious ROH should be throwing however much money it takes to get Generico to commit to their promotion (or at least sign a short-term, non-exclusive deal save for not being able to make appearances in WWE or TNA). My gut says that won’t happen. Steen’s reign of terror will continue into 2013.

Non-Title, Special Challenge Match: ROH World TV Champion Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy

Yeah, yeah, I know, Matt Hardy. In ROH. Again. Well, it wasn’t one of the more popular decisions made this year by the former head booker, but the underlying idea behind the booking was smart-use an established name to put over your young and promising talent. Hardy has resurrected his career in 2012 and has looked good to decent elsewhere, so why not? The problem being that ROH has many former WWE names under their roof and Hardy, even as a special guest, seems like one too many people to use for that concept. Adam Cole had a remarkable 2012 in ROH, CZW, PWG and elsewhere, but it seems to me ROH missed the boat on his true talent as a heel that he has shown in those other promotions. ROH has patterned Cole as a white-bread babyface, which is fine because he is superb in the ring both technically and with his athleticism enough to get over. However, the face act doesn’t truly sizzle the way he does when he plays villain. They’ve also dropped the ball when he was red-hot coming off of Best in the World 2012 against Kyle O’Reilly along with his TV Title win against Roderick Strong. His run as champ since then has been uninspiring and it is not his fault at all—it’s all on Ring of Honor.

Matt Hardy has to be the heel in this one considering many ROH fans just want to hate him because: a-he’s Matt Hardy; b-he’s Matt Hardy, and c-he’s Matt Hardy. On the other hand, while New York City can be ruthless sometimes, they can also surprise you, and so perhaps maybe Hardy will have his share of supporters. …Nah. Since this is a non-title affair, the underlying psychology at work is to make you believe either one could win this match, but Cole should go over here for the obvious reasons.

One-Fall Sudden Death Three-Way Match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship: S.C.U.M. (Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino) vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander

The once-powerhouse tag team division in ROH is not at full strength these days, but this match and the possible reunion of the American Wolves demonstrates there is still a great chance of getting it back to that level of reputation. Jacobs and Corino are the bad guys the fans love to cheer (Corino remains one of my all-time favorites and even after all these years is severely under-appreciated by the average wrestling fan). The Briscoes are ROH’s tag division main stay and remain super-talented and super-confident in their own identity and place in history of the promotion. Coleman and Alexander are the upstart team looking to make it big with a title win. Six-guys in a match like this means a lot of traffic to manage, so this could get messy, but if done right it could also be very awesome. The time seems right for a title switch and I’d give it to Coleman and Alexander. Let’s see what they can do at the top of the division. Sometimes you just have to be thrown in the deep end of the pool and see if you can sink or swim.

Grudge Tag Team Match: The American Wolves (“Die Hard” Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish

2012 hasn’t been a kind year for Davey Richards—including the obvious turn in fan popularity that seems to almost always happen to most ROH World champions these days, and a very weird and now infamous incident at an Iowa independent promotion where he and his crew got paid and walked out without wrestling on the show. Since then, Richards has been quietly rebuilding and refocusing his efforts in ROH. The story here involves the Richards-Edwards rivalry built up over the last two years and the disintegration of the Richards and O’Reilly mentor-protégé relationship. O’Reilly severed ties and walked out on Richards at Best in the World 2012 after showing some attitude problems throughout the year. Recently, Eddie Edwards “recommended” Bobby Fish to ROH officials after their teaming in Japan. Meanwhile, Davey wanted a return to the friendship he once had with Kyle and asked him as much on a recent TV episode, who seemed amenable, but then attacked his former mentor brutally. Bobby Fish joined in and the two have formed an alliance. Richards’ response was to request to ROH to reform The American Wolves tag team with his former partner and once-rival, but Edwards has been and will be “in Japan” until the day before Final Battle (no, no, nevermind his appearances last weekend at PWG and several other independents, don’t look behind the curtain please nothing to see here). So the match has been made, but will Edwards actually agree to go through with it? Well, yeah, likely so (after all, it’s wise not to advertise a match you can’t deliver), but the real question in terms of story will be if Edwards sticks by Richards or if he sticks it to him once the bell rings.

Jerry Lynn’s Final ROH Match: Jerry Lynn vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis & Brutal Bob

Jerry Lynn’s retirement tour ends in late March 2013, but his final wrestling appearance for Ring of Honor happens here against Mike Bennett, a man who has wrestled against several legends from ECW over the last two years including Steve Corino and Lance Storm. He dominated in the series with both of those men, and this is likely to be another instance of his proving the capability of younger blood over veteran and established talent. Bennett has improved in the ring over the last year and adding Maria to his act has proven to give him the extra “X-Factor” I thought was missing in 2011. Jerry Lynn will likely give a great effort to put him over and please the fans one more time. Lynn’s short ROH World Title run in 2009 was criticized at the time, but it did have some gems in its short span of time including very good efforts against Roderick Strong and Chris Hero and the four-way title match on HDNet. Lynn has contributed to ROH throughout the years and here’s hoping his finale goes well and that the fans give him a nice send-off.

Grudge Match: “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong

The issues between Elgin and Strong have been on a very, very, verrrrrrrry slow burn throughout much of 2012. It’s almost comical how long it’s taken for this official confrontation to happen despite playing up the friction between the two for months on end. Many fans predicted that Elgin would turn babyface and an ROH World Title win would be in his future ever since his fabulous showcase performance against Davey Richards at the Showdown in the Sun weekend. However, a showdown would be inevitable between Elgin and his then-House of Truth stablemate Roderick Strong before that could happen. The obvious route was that Elgin would grow frustrated with Truth Maritni’s machinations and bail out of the group, but it was Strong who quit first surprisingly when he grew sick and tired of Truth attempting to reconcile the pair. Elgin, meanwhile, was upset with Truth trying to force him to give up a title shot due to him and giving it to Strong. Everyone else in The House had received their shot except Elgin, who went behind his leader’s back to arrange his own title opportunity at Glory By Honor XI. Things have finally become physical between the two wrestlers, and while it seems The House has been divided for good, Truth has assured everyone he will be there to support “his man”. Uh-oh-the last time someone used that phrase was when RD Evans dropped Tommaso Ciampa as his client in favor of QT Marshall (more on that below in the Nana vs. Evans preview). Look for whatever decision Truth makes as to which man to support to play into the finish, but before then some good brawling and bruising physical action will be on the menu.

Jay Lethal vs. “The Man Beast” Rhino

The rub to this match is the character direction for Lethal, whose “Killer Instinct” has been built up over the past several months-but where is it all going? ROH is teasing that Lethal will challenge the ROH World Champion on this show as well, but if it’s Steen he won’t be allowed to challenge using the shot he earned from his recent Survival of the Fittest tournament victory. ROH officials gave into Steen’s demand that Lethal could no longer wrestle him for the title so long as he was champion. Rhino has done well enough for himself in ROH, but his future in The House of Truth is uncertain after launching House Leader Truth Martini into a side of guardrail at the last iPPV. Is he a lone wolf or is he still all about the money? In-ring, you’ve got athleticism and speed versus power and brute force. That has proven to be a winning combination in professional wrestling and there is no reason to believe that these guys will not gel to create a good version of that on this show.

New York City Street Fight: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. BJ Whitmer & Rhett Titus

It seems that Haas and Benjamin have been feuding with Rhett Titus for much of the year. Titus defeated them to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles with Kenny King as part of the All-Night Express during Best in the World 2012. When King left, Titus and Haas were forced to partner up in the tag title tournament for the vacated championships. They made it to the finals but could not get along well enough to win, and Shelton Benjamin engineered that the team would lose by attacking Titus while everyone else in the match was distracted. It was obvious that Rhett needed a trustworthy tag partner, so he turned to an ROH veteran in BJ Whitmer, who has been making a comeback in the promotion this year. The feud gets settled here in a street fight environment. Both Titus and Whitmer thrive in these matches and the use of tables and chairs and weapons is almost guaranteed here. I’m sure there will be enough hardcore rules action to settle the issue, but let’s hope at the end of the night there is a decisive result one way or the other because all four of these men could use some separation from each other and something new to do in 2013.

Grudge Match: Prince Nana vs. “Barrister” RD Evans w/ QT Marshall

Prince Nana in singles action in ROH is an oddity these days, as usually he is acting from the wings watching his men in The Embassy fight it out. However, when RD Evans stole The Embassy’s lone client Tomasso Ciampa and swindled Nana, there was no longer any Embassy. As a result, Nana has to do the fighting all by himself. Evans ditched Ciampa after an injury and traded for QT Marshall, who will be at ringside, thus making the odds not so great for Nana. Now, in a manager-versus-manager match, the expectation is usually the fight is played for comedy and is a sideshow to the main action of the evening. However, this is a rare case of a serious managerial grudge match that has been building for over six months and hopefully it will be based more on the grudge aspect rather than comedy (even though both men are terrific at entertaining and being funny). Those who know the many talents of RD Evans realize he has fantastic flexibility in how he can be used on a wrestling show, but that he is also a very capable wrestler. Nana is in great shape these days and I hope ROH allows him the opportunity to demonstrate that he can succeed in a physical match. This one could go in several directions, including a Ciampa return or perhaps even other members from The Embassy’s past resurfacing. In the end though this one should be about exacting revenge and Nana should be one to obtain it.

Summary:So there you go—a full and very much stacked card for Ring of Honor, as stacked as the promotion can get these days. Again, it’s an awesome card on paper and has a great chance of living up to the expectations of a show this well set-up. However, given my previous personal experiences of frustrations with Ring of Honor’s internet Pay Per View service, I cannot at this point recommend without reservations ordering the show live as it happens. There is the long history of ROH’s problems with the service to consider. However, I would wholeheartedly ordering a replay as soon as possible if the show does deliver on its potential. I will be there live and in-person, making my viewing of the event much easier (and guaranteed). There is no doubt that the live experience of a Ring of Honor event, especially at The Hammerstein, is still tough to beat even after all of these years.

The tag line for the promotion in recent months has been “Honor Lives”. We will see how much life left Ring of Honor has in it after the conclusion to Final Battle 2012.

On Thursday, Ring of Honor made a huge announcement about a new distribution agreement they’ve made with Ooyala. I planned to cover it once I read about it, but less than an hour later I received this postscript from Ari—The Man. I told you!

Postscript: A few days after submitting this piece to Greg to be included in the 5&1 News Report, Ring of Honor announced that it had reached an agreement with Ooyala, an incredibly reputable hosting and streaming / distribution company to be the new carrier for their iPPV and digital media products. Ooyala has an incredible reputation and deals with a number of A-Class brands like ESPN, Rolling Stone and Bloomberg, so the mention of those heavy hitters names alone make this a promising development. ROH’s announcement promised faster load times, adaptive bit-rate streaming, DVR-control access live as the show is happening and instant event replays as soon as the show is over. IF ROH can provide such advantages and improvements to their service (and given their past reputation, that is a BIG if), such a move represents a significant step up in their iPPV model. They claim the agreement begins with this weekend’s Final Battle 2012 iPPV. I don’t know if it’s a great call to announce this new deal only a few days before the show, because like when ROH went from Go Fight Live as a career to their own efforts, it is a huge change in a short period of time. However, the promise and potential of this deal means a lot when considering the future of the promotion’s iPPV service and their ability to satisfy the paying customer.

Big thanks to Ari Berenstein for his contribution to this week’s Wrestling 5&1!

Check out Ari Berenstein on the Podcast of Honor, available through Pro Wrestling Ponderings and on his Twitter feed here.

Recent reports have claimed that the WWE is looking to hire some former midcard talent back into the fold of the WWE’s roster. The two names that have popped up most are that of MVP and Shelton Benjamin. Both men have grown exponentially in their roles in Japan, and a lot of fans are seemingly okay with having them return to the WWE. Recent tweets from both men claim that they have had no such talks, but we’ve heard of wrestlers lying before.

Shelton Benjamin: Sorry to kill the rumors but at this point no one from wwe has contacted me about returning.

That being said my foot has an appointment with the Asses of@RhettTitusANX & @BJ_Whitmer this weekend in NYC for ROH Final Battle

MVP: I have NOT been contacted by WWE. I still work for New Japan Pro Wrestling. I don’t know anything about these rumours. Sorry.

With one tweet, they may have very blown the winds out of the sails of said rumors. Although I wouldn’t mind seeing either men back in a WWE ring, this immediately makes me wonder about the current state of the WWE. Why do they feel the need to add these guys? If these rumors are true, then they are essentially saying that their current midcard is damaged. Sure, it is, but it’s also full of talent and can be fixed. I don’t understand the need for an injection of talent when the current roster can very well do what they need to do with the right direction. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s not all that bad right now. Barrett, Kofi, Truth, Cesaro and even Santino each have a role and play it well. I think with a bit of finesse and time, they could be something worthy of emotional investment.

Again, this isn’t a knock on MVP or Shelton, and I would definitely welcome them back into the fold, but the question is, is it really needed? With both men denying it, this seems like one of those rumors that will die with no actual finish. Another in the large pile of bullshit that comes out from time to time.

You Decide: Would MVP and Shelton Benjamin be welcomed returns to the WWE?

Ring of Honor star Rhett Titus and Allie Parker appear on this week’s Greg DeMarco Show!

The VOC Nation Radio Network presents The Greg DeMarco Show with Greg DeMarco and Patrick O’Dowd! The Greg DeMarco Show airs each Tuesday night at 10 PM—WORLDWIDE—at www.VOCNation.com. Listen live and call in on the NetCarrier “N Cloud” Listener Line—855-VOC-RADIO. Each week the show features some of the best guests in the wrestling business, plus insightful analysis on the current product, entertaining hijinks & shenanigans and more!

This week:
Ring of Honor superstar Rhett Titus (@RhettTitusANX) takes us back to his days in the ROH Academy, what it meant to him to become the first student to win ROH gold, and of course this weekend’s New York Street Fight with BJ Whitmer against Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin.

Rhett also shares his opinions on Jim Cornette’s role in ROH, the way Austin Aries left the company, and the departure of Kenny King right after The All Night Express won the World Tag Team Championships.

Following Rhett’s nearly 60-minute long interview, “The Definitive Voice on Ring of Honor” Ari Berenstein joins Greg and Patrick for a preview of the promotion’s “Final Battle: Doomsday” iPPV, available this weekend at www.rohwrestling.com.

The always opinionated and never shy Andy Critchell joins Greg and Patrick for a preview of the WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV. Some of the picks might surprise you, especially the John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler Money in the Bank Briefcase Ladder Match.

Adrenaline Unleashed’s Allie Parker (@theeallieparker) makes her first GDMS appearance, talking about training with Allison Danger, her transition from refereeing to wrestling and life in Las Vegas.

Listen here!

About The Greg DeMarco Show:
Greg DeMarco isn’t just a must-read wrestling analyst (via http://www.411mania.com and http://www.bleacherreport.com) with a copious amount of sound bites on his show. VOC Nation founder Bruce Wirt himself called Greg a “popular culture personality who just happens to expertly analyze pro wrestling!” Greg brings several years of experience within the wrestling business—as well as eight years of stand-up and improvisational comedy experience—to the masses each week at http://www.vocnation.com. He’s joined each week by best friend “The Wrestling Realist” Patrick O’Dowd. Not just another sidekick, Patrick balances hard-hitting commentary with an innate ability to provoke Greg in ways that very few can. These two best friends collaborate to provide the most entertaining wrestling program on the planet, and do so while breaking down the product in ways that no one else can.

In hour number one, listeners have grown to expect a stellar guest interview, along with listener callers. Interviews have featuring names like TNA superstar Christopher Daniels, ECW legend Shane Douglas, former WWE superstars Brian Kendrick and Chris (Masters) Mordetzky, Tough Enough cast members Martin Casaus, Eric Watts and Luke Robinson, five-time NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce, and TNA Gut Check success stories Joey Ryan and Taeler Hendrix. The show also boasts the best independent wrestling interviews with internationally acclaimed star The Almighty Sheik, former TNA superstar Jimmy Rave, “The Handicapped Hero” Gregory Iron, women wrestling’s toughest competitor Rain, Nicole Matthews, Australia’s Jessie McKay and Niki Nitro, Kevin Steen, Eddie Kingston, Johnny Gargano, Jigsaw (TNA’s Rubix), Darin Corbin, Larry Dallas, Alex Koslov, “The Greek God” Papadon, Ryna Katz, Michael Elgin, Mike Bennett, Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, Kyle O’Reilly, Tommaso Ciampa, Cary Silkin, Leva Bates, Sassy Stephie, Ethan Page, Josh Alexander, Drew Gulak, Silas Young & Val Malone, Brandon Gatson, Josh Damian, Cintron, Alex Reynolds, Serenity, Jessie Belle GLOW’s Patrisha Summerland, and more. Rounding out this impressive list are promoters Cary Silkin (Ring of Honor), Alex Abrahantes (Lucha Libre USA) and Drew Cordeiro (Beyond Wrestling and WSU) as well as Chikara personality Leonard F. Chikarason.

Hour number two is known for the best wrestling analysis on the planet, including in depth single topic discussions, “state of the…” reviews on each major promotion, and on-point pay-per-view previews. Show analyst Andy Critchell jumps in to level the playing field and provide amazing insight into the product in a style that is unmatched anywhere on the internet. Each week, Andy joins Greg and Patrick in providing expert perspective on the wrestling business that is unmatched.

During hour number two, listeners have also gotten to know “The DeMarcettes,” the hottest up-and-coming women’s wrestlers in the world. Buggy Nova, the original DeMarcette, has gone on to WWE fame as NXT’s Skyler Moon. Current DeMarcettes include Las Vegas’s Terra Calaway, Su Yung (former WWE/NXT Diva Sonia), Texas’s Barbi Hayden, New England’s Veda Scott, and Ohio Valley Wrestling’s newest roster member “The Perfect Ten” Scarlett Bordeaux.

And if pure entertainment and hijinks are more your speed, then hour number three is for you! The gorgeous “Sin City Siren” Terra Calaway and published author (and hip-hop & wrestling aficionado) Tony Acero engage in hilarious conversation (and sometimes screaming rants) on all things wrestling, entertainment, sex, life, and more! Are you a wrestling trivia fan? Justin Freemyer gives you a weekly dose of wrestling history that is sure to stump Greg during hour three each week.

The Greg DeMarco Show is streams LIVE each Tuesday night at 10 pm eastern/7 pm pacific—WORLDWIDE—on via Bruce Wirt’s Voice of Choice Nation at http://www.vocnation.com. You can reach the show via e-mail at [email protected] and on Facebook by searching for “Greg DeMarco Show.”

Follow show personalities on Twitter:
Patrick O’Dowd – http://twitter.com/wrestlngrealist
Andy Critchell – http://twitter.com/ascrit
Justin Freemyer – http://twitter.com/JustinFreemyer
Tony Acero – http://twitter.com/TonyAcero411
Terra Calaway – http://twitter.com/TerraCalaway
Greg DeMarco – http://twitter.com/gregdemarcoshow

If you liked the Shield promo, you’ll love this parody for Afterbuzz from my good friend Ryan Katz. Enjoy!

Check out more of Ryan’s work on his YouTube page, here.

Hit up the ‘Mania on the TWITTER (so Ashish will like me, okay?)

http://www.twitter.com/411mania
http://www.twitter.com/411wrestling
http://www.twitter.com/411moviestv
http://www.twitter.com/411music
http://www.twitter.com/411games
http://www.twitter.com/411mma

This week’s And 1 Model of the Week is the Hall of Bang’s #5 ranked member—and the First Lady of ROH—Maria Kanellis!

Get reading!

Randle’s Wrestling News Experience!
The Tuesday Communique with Nick Marsico!
Kelly’s Thursday Sports Entertainment News!
Fact or Fiction featuring Sean Kelly and Tony Acero!

Tony Acero presents The Low End Theory!

Plenty to talk about in the comments!
Attendance problems?
Is The Shield a carbon copy of The Dark Knight?
Are you ordering the ROH Preview?
And don’t forget about the Versus Royal Rumble—PICK 3 TO ELIMINATE!

Until next time…

Find Tony:
Twitter: @TonyAcero411
Facebook: Be my Fwend!
Amazon: Check out my books!

Find Greg:
Twitter: @GregDeMarcoShow
Facebook: Be my friend!
Bleacher Report: Read more of my stuff!

Listen to the show!

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